Imagination seems to play an epistemic role in philosophical and scientific thought experiments, mindreading, and ordinary practical deliberations. That is, imagination seems to generate new knowledge of contingent facts. However, it also seems that imagination is limited to revealing merely possible ways the world might be. The conjunction of these claims is what I call the puzzle of knowledge through imagination. In this paper, I aim to resolve this puzzle. I argue that imagination has an (...) epistemic role to play, but it is limited to the context of discovery. I make this case by considering the Simulation Theory's so-called "threat of collapse." Consideration of the threat of collapse provides further evidence that imagination does not, on its own, yield new knowledge of contingent facts, and it suggests a way to supplement imagination in order to get such knowledge. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger defines the world as ‘the ever non-objective to which we are subject as long as the paths of birth and death . . . keep us transported into Being’. He writes that the world is ‘not the mere collection of the countable or uncountable, familiar and unfamiliar things that are at hand . . . The world worlds’. Being able to fully and richly express how the world worlds is the task of the artist, whose artwork is the (...) crystallization of this ‘worlding’. For Heidegger it is especially the poet who is attuned to this ‘worlding’, for the poet’s work is focussed on and happens within language itself. The poet is a ‘world-maker’, but this ‘worlding’ is not directed at creating a fictional world; rather it is aimed at revealing the world itself, drawing to the foreground the ‘ever non-objective’ nature of the world, the world happening and unfolding through and with us. This paper, using T.S. Eliot’s poetry, particularly Four Quartets as an example, will delve into how the language of the poet is able to articulate this seemingly invisible boundary between the everyday world and that same world revealed as a mysterious potential that ‘worlds’. The ‘religious imagination’ is central in how this transformation of reality, through poetic language, can manifest. Paul Ricoeur’s work on the poetic and religious dimensions of imagination, particularly the notion of ‘hope’ provides the theoretical underpinnings to explain this transformation. (shrink)
Imaginative representations are crucial to the generation of action--both pretense and plain action. But well-known theories of imagination on offer in the literature  fail to describe how perceptually-formatted imaginings (mental images) and motor imaginings function in the generation of action and  fail to recognize the important fact that spatially rich imagining can be integrated into one's perceptual manifold. In this paper, I present a theory of imagining that shows how spatially rich imagining functions in the generation of (...) action. I also describe the imaginative structures behind two under-explored forms of action: semi-pretense and pretense layering. In addition, I suggest that my theory of imagining meshes better than the competitors with current work in cognitive and affective neuroscience. (shrink)
Penultimate draft; please refer to published version. I argue, on philosophical, psychological, and neurophysiological grounds, that contrary to an orthodox view, dreams do not typically involve misleading sensations and false beliefs. I am thus in partial agreement with Colin McGinn, who has argued that we do not have misleading sensory experience while dreaming, and partially in agreement with Ernest Sosa, who has argued that we do not form false beliefs while dreaming. Rather, on my view, dreams involve mental imagery and (...) propositional imagination. I defend the imagination model of dreaming from some objections. (shrink)
A popular view has it that the mental representations underlying human pretense are not beliefs, but are “belief-like” in important ways. This view typically posits a distinctive cognitive attitude (a “DCA”) called “imagination” that is taken toward the propositions entertained during pretense, along with correspondingly distinct elements of cognitive architecture. This paper argues that the characteristics of pretense motivating such views of imagination can be explained without positing a DCA, or other cognitive architectural features beyond those regulating normal (...) belief and desire. On the present “Single Attitude” account of imagination, propositional imagining just is a form of believing. The Single Attitude account is also distinguished from “metarepresentational” accounts of pretense, which hold that both pretending and recognizing pretense in others require one to have concepts of mental states. It is argued, to the contrary, that pretending and recognizing pretense require neither a DCA nor possession of mental state concepts. (shrink)
I argue that any account of imagination should satisfy the following three desiderata. First, imaginations induce actions only in conjunction with beliefs about the environment of the imagining subject. Second, there is a continuum between imaginations and beliefs. Recognizing this continuum is crucial to explain the phenomenon of imaginative immersion. Third, the mental states that relate to imaginations in the way that desires relate to beliefs are a special kind of desire, namely desires to make true in fiction. These (...) desires to make true in fiction do not differ from regular desires in kind, but only in content. I argue for these three desiderata in turn by critically discussing several recent accounts of imagination. (shrink)
Issues of pretense and imagination are of central interest to philosophers, psychologists, and researchers in allied fields. In this entry, we provide a roadmap of some of the central themes around which discussion has been focused. We begin with an overview of pretense, imagination, and the relationship between them. We then shift our attention to the four specific topics where the disciplines' research programs have intersected or where additional interactions could prove mutually beneficial: the psychological underpinnings of performing (...) pretense and of recognizing pretense, the cognitive capacities involved in imaginative engagement with fictions, and the real-world impact of make-believe. In the final section, we discuss more briefly a number of other mental activities that arguably involve imagining, including counterfactual reasoning, delusions, and dreaming. (shrink)
David Hume endorses three claims that are difficult to reconcile: (1) sympathy with those in distress is sufficient to produce compassion towards their plight, (2) adopting the general point of view often requires us to sympathize with the pain and suffering of distant strangers, but (3) our care and concern is limited to those in our close circle. Hume manages to resolve this tension, however, by distinguishing two types of sympathy. We feel compassion towards those around us because associative sympathy (...) causes us to mirror their pain and suffering, but our ability to enter into the afflictions of those remote from us involves cognitive sympathy and merely requires us to reflect upon how we would feel in their shoes. This hybrid theory of sympathy receives support from recent work on affective mirroring and cognitive pretense. Hume’s account should appeal to contemporary researchers, therefore, who are interested in the nature of moral imagination. (shrink)
John Perry's book Knowledge, Possibility, and Consciousness is a lucid and engaging defense of a physicalist view of consciousness against various anti-physicalist arguments. In what follows, I will address Perry's responses to the three main anti-physicalist arguments he discusses: the zombie argument (focusing on imagination), the knowledge argument (focusing on indexicals), and the modal argument (focusing on intensions).
In this article (Part I), I first engage in some conceptual clarification of what the words "imagine," "imagining," and "imagination" can mean. Each has (i) a constructive sense, (ii) an attitudinal sense, and (iii) an imagistic sense. Keeping the senses straight in the course of cognitive theorizing is important for both psychology and philosophy. I then discuss the roles that perceptual memories, beliefs, and genre truth attitudes play in constructive imagination, or the capacity to generate novel representations that (...) go well beyond what's prompted by one's immediate environment. (shrink)
This book departs from much of the scholarship on Kant by demonstrating the centrality of imagination to Kant's philosophy as a whole. In Kant's works, human experience is simultaneously passive and active, thought and sensed, free and unfree: these dualisms are often thought of as unfortunate byproducts of his system. Gibbons, however, shows that imagination performs a vital function in "bridging gaps" between the different elements of cognition and experience. Thus, the role imagination plays in Kant's works (...) expresses his fundamental insight into the complexity of cognition for finite rational beings such as ourselves. (shrink)
Both imagery and imagination play an important part in our mental lives. This article, which has three main sections, discusses both of these phenomena, and the connection between them. The first part discusses mental images and, in particular, the dispute about their representational nature that has become known as the _imagery debate_ . The second part turns to the faculty of the imagination, discussing the long philosophical tradition linking mental imagery and the imagination—a tradition that came under (...) attack in the early part of the twentieth century with the rise of behaviorism. Finally, the third part of this article examines modal epistemology, where the imagination has been thought to serve an important philosophical function, namely, as a guide to possibility. (shrink)
Imagination has been assigned an important explanatory role in a multitude of philosophical contexts. This paper examines four such contexts: mindreading, pretense, our engagement with fiction, and modal epistemology. Close attention to each of these contexts suggests that the mental activity of imagining is considerably more heterogeneous than previously realized. In short, no single mental activity can do all the explanatory work that has been assigned to imagining.
Interest in imagination dates back to Plato and Aristotle, but full-length works have been devoted to it only relatively recently by Sartre, McKellar, Furlong, Casey, Johnson, Warnock, Brann, and others. Despite their length and variety, however, these current theories take overly narrow views of this complex phenomenon. (1) Their definitions of “imagination” neglect the multiplicity of its meanings and tend to focus narrowly on the power of imaging alone (which produces images and imagery). But imagination in (...) the fullest, most encompassing sense centers instead on creativity, which involves both imaging and reasoning powers. (2) Current accounts of the operations of imagination narrowly construe it in fixed, immutable terms. But it’s instead a dynamic, evolving synergy of its psychological roots (images and symbols) and sociobiological roots (cultures and instincts). This synergy has transformed the roles of images and symbols in imagination (as Vygotsky, Goody, etc. note). For example, in the shift from mytheopic to scientific imagination, literacy and formal education fostered abstract symbolic thinking (reason), which differs from mytheopic thinking based on richly concrete associations (imagery). The result was “more than cool reason”, but experimental studies (by Perkins, Clement, etc.) show that it’s also more than just dreamy imagery. It’s a dynamic synergy of the two that has transformed both. (3) Current evaluations of imagination’s potentials are also narrow. They tend to focus on its role in mental life while ignoring social and political life. Also, they tend to follow romantic and existentialist customs of extolling imagination’s virtues without soberly critiquing its limitations. Again, they ignore the synergy of psychological, sociological and biological forces that shape mental and social evolution, and promote and constrain imagination in complex ways. For example, Sartre surreally asks us to choose our own nature with an imagination emancipated from institutional and instinctual strictures. Yet making intelligible choices depends on these strictures. (4) In conclusion, current theories define imagination narrowly in terms of imaging, they describe its operations in fixed and immutable terms, and they evaluate its potentials without examining the full interplay of forces shaping it. These shortcomings are remedied by a broader perspective that defines imagination more adequately and comprehensively, and that recognizes it’s complex roots, dynamic operations, and evolving potentials. (shrink)
Imagination is a central concept in aesthetics with close ties to issues in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language, yet it has not received the kind of sustained, critical attention it deserves. Imagination, Philosophy and the Arts represents the work of fifteen young yet distinguished philosophers of art, who critically examine just how and in what form the notion of imagination illuminates fundamental problems in the philosophy of art. All new papers, a strong collection (...) on the imagination in philosophy, particularly in relation to literature and the visual arts. The book falls in three parts: emotional imagination, fiction-making imagination and sensory imagination. The volume opens up several new frontiers that will attract substantial interest in philosophers of art, as well as philosophers working on mental representation, emotion theory, perception and fiction. These papers make a large contribution to developing our understanding of 'imagination' in new directions and setting the research agenda for the next decade. (shrink)
Recreative Minds develops a philosophical theory of imagination that draws upon the latest work in psychology. This theory illuminates the use of imagination in coming to terms with art, its role in enabling us to live as social beings, and the psychological consequences of disordered imagination. The authors offer a lucid exploration of a fascinating subject.
What kinds of psychological states motivate us? Beliefs and desires are the obvious candidates. But some aspects of our behaviour suggest another idea. I have in mind the view that imagination can sometimes constitute motivation.
According to recent accounts of the imagination, mental mechanisms that can take input from both imagining and from believing will process imagination-based inputs (pretense representations) and isomorphic beliefs in much the same way. That is, such a mechanism should produce similar outputs whether its input is the belief that p or the pretense representation that p. Unfortunately, there seem to be clear counterexamples to this hypothesis, for in many cases, imagining that p and believing that p have quite (...) different psychological consequences. This paper sets out some central problem cases and argues that the cases might be accommodated by adverting to the role of desires concerning real and imaginary situations. (shrink)
After experiments with various economic systems, we appear to have conceded, to misquote Winston Churchill that "free enterprise is the worst economic system, except all the others that have been tried." Affirming that conclusion, I shall argue that in today's expanding global economy, we need to revisit our mind-sets about corporate governance and leadership to fit what will be new kinds of free enterprise. The aim is to develop a values-based model for corporate governance in this age of globalization that (...) will be appropriate in a variety of challenging cultural and economic settings. I shall present an analysis of mental models from a social constructivist perspective. I shall then develop the notion of moral imagination as one way to revisit traditional mind-sets about values-based corporate governance and outline what I mean by systems thinking. I shall conclude with examples for modeling corporate governance in multi-cultural settings and draw tentative conclusions about globalization. (shrink)
This volume brings together specially written essays by leading researchers on the propositional imagination. This is the mental capacity we exploit when we imagine that Holmes has a bad habit or that there are zombies. It plays an essential role in philosophical theorizing, engaging with fiction, and indeed in everyday life. The Architecture of the Imagination capitalizes on recent attempts to give a cognitive account of this capacity, extending the theoretical picture and exploring the philosophical implications.
One version of the Humean Theory of Motivation holds that all actions can be causally explained by reference to a belief–desire pair. Some have argued that pretense presents counter-examples to this principle, as pretense is instead causally explained by a belief-like imagining and a desire-like imagining. We argue against this claim by denying imagination the power of motivation. Still, we allow imagination a role in guiding action as a script . We generalize the script concept to show how (...) things besides imagination can occupy this same role in both pretense and non-pretense actions. The Humean Theory of Motivation should then be modified to cover this script role. (shrink)
The dominant narrative today of modern political power, inspired by Foucault, is one that traces the move from the spectacle of the scaffold to the disciplining of bodies whereby the modern political subject, animated by a fundamental fear and the will to live, is promised security in exchange for obedience and productivity. In this essay, I call into question this narrative, arguing that that the modern political imagination, rooted in Hobbes, is animated not by fear but instead by the (...) desire for glory and immortality, a desire that is spectacularly displayed in the violence of the modern battlefield. I go on to argue that Hannah Arendt, writing in the ruins of the Second World War, rethinks the modern legacy of political glory. I claim that Arendt's reflections on violence and glory, which she rethinks from her earliest writings on violence in the 1940s to her later reflections on war in the 1960s, offer the possibility of a new political imagination wherein glory and the desire for immortality is now rooted in the responsibility of bearing an enduring world. (shrink)
The literature suggests that in sensory imagination we focus on the imagined objects, not on the imaginative states themselves, and that therefore imagination is not introspective. It is claimed that the introspection of imaginative states is an additional cognitive ability. However, there seem to be counterexamples to this claim. In many cases in which we sensorily imagine a certain object in front of us, we are aware that this object is not really where we imagine it to be. (...) So it looks as if in these cases of imagination, we are aware of the mere appearance of the imagined object, and hence introspection is a constitutive part of imagination. In this article, I address this contradictory state of affairs and argue that we should classify at least some forms of sensory imagination as introspective. For this purpose I use the appearance-reality distinction as a central notion for introspection. I also defend the thesis of introspective imagination against the objection that young children imagine without yet understanding the concept of experience. (shrink)
This paper examines Santayana on imagination, and related themes, chiefly as these are expressed in his early work, Interpretations of Poetry and Religion (1900). My hypothesis is that Santayana under-estimates, in this book, the force and significance of the prevalent distinction between imagination and fancy, as this was originally put forward by Coleridge and later developed in Emerson’s late essays. I will focus on some of those aspects of Santayana’s book which appear to react to or to engage (...) with Emerson’s views and aim to bring Santayana’s treatment of the theme of imagination into relation with Emerson. Understanding the differences in greater detail we stand a better chance of reasoned evaluation of alternative conceptions of imagination. I will argue that the Coleridge-Emersonian conception of the distinction between imagination and fancy is a crucial element of the background of Peircean abduction, and in this fashion, contributes to the continuity of Emerson’s writings with the pragmatist tradition. (shrink)
In this book Jane Kneller focuses on the role of imagination as a creative power in Kant’s aesthetics and in his overall philosophical enterprise. She analyzes Kant's account of imaginative freedom and the relation between imaginative free play and human social and moral development, showing various ways in which his aesthetics of disinterested reflection produce moral interests. She situates these aspects of his aesthetic theory within the context of German aesthetics of the eighteenth century, arguing that Kant’s contribution is (...) a bridge between early theories of aesthetic moral education and the early Romanticism of the last decade of that century. In so doing, her book brings the two most important German philosophers of Enlightenment and Romanticism, Kant and Novalis, into dialogue. It will be of interest to a wide range of readers in both Kant studies and German philosophy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. (shrink)
The Hypocritical Imagination: Between Kant and Levinas is an outstanding contribution to this vacuum. Focusing on Kant and Levinas, John Llewelyn takes us on a dazzling tour of the philosophical imagination. He shows us that despite the different treatments they accord to the imagination, there is much to be gained from comparing these two key thinkers. From Kant, Llewelyn shows how the imagination is the common root of all understanding. He contrasts this with the thought of (...) Emmanuel Levinas, for whom the imagination plays an ambivalent role both as necessary for and a threat to recognition of the other. John Llewelyn also introduces the importance of the work of Heidegger, Schelling, Hegel, Arendt, and Derrida on the imagination and what this work can tell us about the relationship between the imagination and ethics, aesthetics, and literature. (shrink)
Ignorance and Imagination advances a novel way to resolve the central philosophical problem about the mind: how it is that consciousness or experience fits into a larger naturalistic picture of the world. The correct response to the problem, Stoljar argues, is not to posit a realm of experience distinct from the physical, nor to deny the reality of phenomenal experience, nor even to rethink our understanding of consciousness and the language we use to talk about it. Instead, we should (...) view the problem itself as a consequence of our ignorance of the relevant physical facts. Stoljar shows that this change of orientation is well motivated historically, empirically, and philosophically, and that it has none of the side effects it is sometimes thought to have. The result is a philosophical perspective on the mind that has a number of far-reaching consequences: for consciousness studies, for our place in nature, and for the way we think about the relationship between philosophy and science. (shrink)
"Henry Corbin's works are the best guide to the visionary tradition.... Corbin, like Scholem and Jonas, is remembered as a scholar of genius. He was uniquely equipped not only to recover Iranian Sufism for the West, but also to defend the principal Western traditions of esoteric spirituality."--From the introduction by Harold Bloom Ibn 'Arabi (1165-1240) was one of the great mystics of all time. Through the richness of his personal experience and the constructive power of his intellect, he made a (...) unique contribution to Shi'ite Sufism. In this book, which features a powerful new preface by Harold Bloom, Henry Corbin brings us to the very core of this movement with a penetrating analysis of Ibn 'Arabi's life and doctrines. Corbin begins with a kind of spiritual topography of the twelfth century, emphasizing the differences between exoteric and esoteric forms of Islam. He also relates Islamic mysticism to mystical thought in the West. The remainder of the book is devoted to two complementary essays: on "Sympathy and Theosophy" and "Creative Imagination and Creative Prayer." A section of notes and appendices includes original translations of numerous Su fi treatises. Harold Bloom's preface links Sufi mysticism with Shakespeare's visionary dramas and high tragedies, such as The Tempest and Hamlet . These works, he writes, intermix the empirical world with a transcendent element. Bloom shows us that this Shakespearean cosmos is analogous to Corbin's "Imaginal Realm" of the Sufis, the place of soul or souls. (shrink)
This article examines the imagination by way of various studies in cognitive science. It opens by examining the neural correlates of bodily metaphors. It assumes a basic knowledge of metaphor studies, or the primary finding that has emerged from this field: that large swathes of human conceptualization are structured by bodily relations. I examine the neural correlates of metaphor, concentrating on the relation between the sensory motor cortices and linguistic conceptualization. This discussion, however, leaves many questions unanswered. If it (...) is the case that the sensory motor cortices are appropriated in language acquisition, how does this process occur at the neural level? What neural preconditions exist such that this appropriation is possible? It is with these questions in mind that I will turn my attention to studies of neural plasticity, degeneracy and the mirror neuron activation. Whereas some scholarship in philosophy and cognitive neuroscience has aimed to identify the neurological correlates of consciousness, examining plasticity, degeneracy and activation shifts the discussion away from a study of correlates toward an exploration of the neurological dynamics of thought. This shift seems appropriate if we are to examine the processes of the “imagination.”. (shrink)
Both local and global issues are typically dealt with in the Social Studies curriculum, or in curriculum areas with other names but similar intents. In the literature about Social Studies the imagination has played little role, and consequently it hardly appears in texts designed to help teachers plan and implement Social Studies lessons. What is true of Social Studies is also largely reflected in general texts concerning planning teaching. Clearly many theorists and practitioners are concerned to engage students' imaginations (...) in learning, even though they use terms other than 'imagination' in doing so. This article suggests that a more explicit attention to imagination can make our efforts to engage students in learning more effective. We provide, first, a working definition of imagination, then show how students' imaginations can be characterized in terms of the 'cognitive toolkits' they bring to learning. We look at such 'cognitive tools' as stories, images, humor, binary oppositions, a sense of mystery and how these can be used to engage students' imaginations in learning Social Studies and other content from kindergarten to about grade four. We then consider 'cognitive tools' commonly deployed by students from about grade four to grade nine, including a sense of reality, the extremes of experience and limits of reality, and associating with the heroic. We also provide examples of how using such tools could influence planning and teaching Social Studies topics. (shrink)
Many writers have paid tribute to its power: Shakespeare urged his audiences to use it to create a setting; Hobbes asserted that "imagination and memory are but one thing;" for Wordsworth it was "the mightiest leveler known to moral world;" and to Baudelaire it represented "the queen of truth." Imagination as artistic, poetic, and cultural predicate remains one of the most influential ideas in the history of Western thought. (...) class='Hi'> It has been simultaneously feared as a dangerous, uncontrollable force, and revered as the supreme visionary power. The questions of its origins, nature, function, and effects have absorbed writers, theologians, and philosophers alike. J. M. Cocking's Imagination shows how these questions have recurred, through the ages and in various cultures. Exploring this theme, from antiquity to the Renaissance, it opens with a discussion of the treatment of imagination in the writings of Aristotle and Plato. Tracing its development in the Middle Ages, Cocking pays particular attention to the parallel tradition in Islamic thought of the period. The book pursues the concept through the theories of Dante and the neo-Platonists, concluding with the High Renaissance. (shrink)
In part because "imagination" is a slippery notion, its exact role in the production of scientific knowledge remains unclear. There is, however, one often explicit and deliberate use of imagination by scientists that can be (and has been) studied intensively by epistemologists and historians of science: thought experiments. The main goal of this article is to document the varieties of thought experimentation, not so much in terms of the different sciences in which they occur but rather in terms (...) of the different functions they fulfil. I argue that thought experimentation (and hence imagination) plays a role not only in theory choice but in singular causal analysis and scientific discovery as well. I pinpoint, moreover, some of the rules governing the use of thought experiments in theory choice and in singular causal analysis, that is, some of the criteria they should meet in order to fulfil those functions successfully. (shrink)
How is it that metaphors are meaningful, yet we have so much trouble saying exactly what they mean? I argue that metaphoric thought is an act of imagination, mediated by the contingent form of human embodiment. Metaphoric cognition is an example of the productive interplay between intentional imagery and the body scheme, a process of imaginal modeling. The case of metaphor marks the intersection of linguistic and psychological processes and demonstrates the need for a multi-disciplinary approach not only in (...) philosophy of language, but in cognitive science and consciousness studies as well. (shrink)
In this paper I trace Husserl’s transformation of his notion of phantasy from its strong leanings towards empiricism into a transcendental phenomenology of imagination. Rejecting the view that this account is only more incompatible with contemporary neuroscientific research, I instead claim that the transcendental suspension of naturalistic (or scientific) pretensions precisely enables cooperation between the two distinct realms of phenomenology and science. In particular, a transcendental account of phantasy can disclose the specific accomplishments of imagination without prematurely deciding (...) upon a particular scientific paradigm for its experimental investigation; a decision that is best left to the sciences themselves. (shrink)
A great deal of effort has been, and continues to be, devoted to developing consciousness artificially (A small selection of the many authors writing in this area includes: Cotterill (J Conscious Stud 2:290–311, 1995 , 1998 ), Haikonen ( 2003 ), Aleksander and Dunmall (J Conscious Stud 10:7–18, 2003 ), Sloman ( 2004 , 2005 ), Aleksander ( 2005 ), Holland and Knight ( 2006 ), and Chella and Manzotti ( 2007 )), and yet a similar amount of effort has (...) gone in to demonstrating the infeasibility of the whole enterprise (Most notably: Dreyfus ( 1972/1979 , 1992 , 1998 ), Searle ( 1980 ), Harnad (J Conscious Stud 10:67–75, 2003 ), and Sternberg ( 2007 ), but there are a great many others). My concern in this paper is to steer some navigable channel between the two positions, laying out the necessary pre-conditions for consciousness in an artificial system, and concentrating on what needs to hold for the system to perform as a human being or other phenomenally conscious agent in an intersubjectively-demanding social and moral environment. By adopting a thick notion of embodiment—one that is bound up with the concepts of the lived body and autopoiesis (Maturana and Varela 1980 ; Varela et al. 2003 ; and Ziemke 2003 , 2007a , J Conscious Stud 14(7):167–179, 2007b )—I will argue that machine phenomenology is only possible within an embodied distributed system that possesses a richly affective musculature and a nervous system such that it can, through action and repetition, develop its tactile-kinaesthetic memory, individual kinaesthetic melodies pertaining to habitual practices, and an anticipatory enactive kinaesthetic imagination. Without these capacities the system would remain unconscious, unaware of itself embodied within a world. Finally, and following on from Damasio’s ( 1991 , 1994 , 1999 , 2003 ) claims for the necessity of pre-reflective conscious, emotional, bodily responses for the development of an organism’s core and extended consciousness, I will argue that without these capacities any agent would be incapable of developing the sorts of somatic markers or saliency tags that enable affective reactions, and which are indispensable for effective decision-making and subsequent survival. My position, as presented here, remains agnostic about whether or not the creation of artificial consciousness is an attainable goal. (shrink)
Engineering Ethics literature tends to emphasize wrongdoing, its avoidance, or its prevention. It also tends to focus on identifiable events, especially those that involve unfortunate, sometimes disastrous consequences. This paper shifts attention to the positive in engineering practice; and, as a result, the need for addressing questions of character and imagination becomes apparent.
The essay traces the double, phenomenological and psychological, background of Sartre’s theory of the imagination. Insofar as these two phenomenological and psychological currents are equally influential for Sartre’s theory of the imagination, his intellectual project is situated in an inter-disciplinary research area which combines the descriptive analyses of Edmund Husserl with the clinical reports and psychological theories of Pierre Janet. While Husserl provides the foundation for the prevailing theory of imagination as pictorial representation, Janet’s findings on obsessive (...) behavior enrich an alternative current in Sartre’s thinking about imagination as spontaneous and self-determined creativity. (shrink)
Several recent accounts claim that imagination is a matter of simulating perceptual acts. Although this point of view receives support from both phenomenological and empirical research, I claim that Jean-Paul Sartre's worry formulated in L'imagination (1936) still holds. For a number of reasons, Sartre heavily criticizes theories in which the sensory material of imaginative acts consists in reviving sensory impressions. Based on empirical and philosophical insights, this article explains how simulation theories of imagination can overcome Sartre's critique (...) by paying attention to the motor dimension of imagination. Intending to clarify the status of the sensory in imagination, a motor theory of imagination is presented in which the sensory component of imagination is interpreted in terms of anticipated sensory consequences of preparation for motor action. (shrink)
Before imagination became the transcendent and creative faculty promoted by the Romantics, it was for something quite different. Not reserved to a privileged few, imagination was instead considered a universal ability that each person could direct in practical ways. To imagine something meant to form in the mind a replica of a thing—its taste, its sound, and other physical attributes. At the end of the Renaissance, there was a movement to encourage individuals to develop their ability to imagine (...) vividly. Within their private mental space, a space of embodied, sensual thought, they could meditate, pray, or philosophize. Gradually, confidence in the self-directed imagination fell out of favor and was replaced by the belief that the few—an elite of writers and teachers—should control the imagination of the many. This book seeks to understand what imagination meant in early modern Europe, particularly in early modern France, before the Romantic era gave the term its modern meaning. The author explores the themes surrounding early modern notions of imagination (including hostility to imagination) through the writings of such figures as Descartes, Montaigne, François de Sales, Pascal, the Marquise de Se;vigne;, Madame de Lafayette, and Fe;nelon. (shrink)
This article defends tradition and common sense against a widespread and rarely questioned contemporary philosophical orthodoxy that underpins the entrenched and exorbitant "lingualism" of so much 20th century thought, and leads the way to extreme doctrines like cognitive relativism and eliminative materialism. It also plugs what might otherwise have seemed to be a significant hole in the argument of myÂ Are Theories of Imagery Theories of Imagination? (which I regard as my main positive contribution so far to the understanding (...) ofÂ the mind). For a relatively brief overview of the situation in cognitive theory and consciousness studies, as I see it, see A Stimulus toÂ the Imagination. Click here to view the full article: Imagery and the Coherence of Imagination: a Critique of White. Earlier drafts of this article, one entitled "The White Images of Imagery and Imagination: A Critique and an Alternative", were formerly available on the net. Please make any citations to the published version. - N.J.T.T. (shrink)
Iteration presents opposing puzzles for a theory of the imagination. The first puzzle, noted by David Lewis, is that when a person pretends to pretend, the iteration is often preserved. Let’s call this the puzzle of ‘pre- served iteration’. At the other pole, Gregory Currie has noted that very often when we pretend to pretend, the iteration does collapse. We might call this the puzzle of ‘collapsed iteration’. Somehow a theory of the imagination must be able to address (...) these two puzzles. I argue that an empirically inspired cognitive theory of the imagination (Nichols & Stich 2000) can accommodate both puzzles. (shrink)
Political judgment in its historical context -- The politics of managing decline -- Moralism and realpolitik -- On the very idea of a metaphysics of right -- The actual and another modernity : order and imagination in Don Quixote -- Culture as ideal and as boundary -- On museums -- Celan's Meridian -- Heidegger and his brother -- Richard Rorty at Princeton : personal recollections -- Melody as death -- On bourgeois philosophy and the concept of "criticism".
Using path-breaking discoveries of cognitive science, Mark Johnson argues that humans are fundamentally imaginative moral animals, challenging the view that morality is simply a system of universal laws dictated by reason. According to the Western moral tradition, we make ethical decisions by applying universal laws to concrete situations. But Johnson shows how research in cognitive science undermines this view and reveals that imagination has an essential role in ethical deliberation. Expanding his innovative studies of human reason in Metaphors We (...) Live By and The Body in the Mind, Johnson provides the tools for more practical, realistic, and constructive moral reflection. (shrink)
In the shadow of a looming global ecological and social catastrophe 'Only a God Can Save Us: Heidegger, Poetic Imagination and the Modern Malaise' is timely and essential reading. The book argues that technology by itself cannot save the diversity, integrity and habitability of the planet. Averting disaster calls for a radical transformation in our very being. Humanity is at an unprecedented crossroad where crucial and difficult decisions must be made about how we are to live. This book attends (...) to a crisis in the human psyche that, it suggests, is at the root of the ever more pressing contemporary problems. Aimed at an intelligent lay audience it has ramifications in domains ranging from art, literature and sociology to environmental management, ecology and technology. Moreover, van Leeuwen's insightful grasp of the core of the Martin Heidegger's later thinking makes this book also invaluable to scholars and students of this influential and controversial philosopher, as well as those with a wider interest in continental philosophy. It uncovers an extraordinary, but rarely trodden or overlooked pathway of thinking that offers the means to a way of being as authentic dwellers of the earth. The author identifies an ‘in-between region’ within thought where the poetic imagination is awakened (implicating 'the gods') and enabled to respond creatively. From this emerges the possibility of a genuinely sustainable way of thinking and active commitment. (shrink)